chapter  9
13 Pages

Dependent nations or sovereign governments?

Treaties, governance and resources in the USA

For many indigenous peoples, struggles for recognition and justice focus on political strategies aimed at achieving legislative changes. Legal issues and legal strategies sometimes appear to dominate indigenous politics. Securing statutory recognition of land rights, constitutional recognition of pre-colonial sovereignty, enforcing constitutional rights and obligations, lobby for antidiscrimination, environmental protection and other laws, and then lobbying for their enforcement have all been a focus of indigenous concerns in many jurisdictions around the world. Debate about resource sovereignty (its nature, extent, legal definition, limitations and implications) is also a central concern of indigenous politics. Negotiating new treaties, enforcing the provisions of existing treaties, balancing tradition and change in relation to subsistence and commercial economic activities, cultural and financial obligations, and securing a capital base in terms of financial, human and cultural capital are all critical issues for indigenous leaders throughout the indigenous world.